What I’m Doing to Fight Anti-Black Racism

I am a partner with Brauti Thorning LLP and practice exclusively in the area of family law, with a particular focus on cases involving domestic violence and spousal abuse. Every month I send out a newsletter full of helpful tips, advice and insights that will help you navigate through family law challenges.

Leanne’s Divorcing Well podcast: financial planning advice

Taking a hard look at our financial situation can be intimidating for many people. In a recent episode of my Divorcing Well podcast, I spoke to Charlotte Paul, a financial advisor and the leader of Perspective Wealth Management of Raymond James. She says one of the most common issues facing newly divorced people is the fear of not having enough money to support the lifestyle they and their children are used to. Paul encourages clients to tackle those fears head-on by creating a financial plan that will allow them to meet their goals today and in the future. Finance is about opportunity: understanding what your wealth can create for you, she says.


Listen to the episode on Apple or Spotify.

How and why I’m taking action to fight anti-Black racism

Recent events highlighting the pervasiveness of anti-Black racism have many of us reflecting on the role we can play to create a world where racial equality is the norm.  In my recent blog post, I point out that access to legal services is an ongoing challenge for people in communities that are hindered by systemic racism. I am offering pro-bono legal services to financially disadvantaged Black people who need help with child or spousal support issues. Having the ability to escape an abusive relationship or collect the child or spousal support you’re owed shouldn’t depend on the colour of your skin or the balance in your bank account.

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Co-parenting strategies to help kids keep up with schoolwork


Encouraging children to keep up with schoolwork is challenging these days, and that struggle is often amplified for divorced parents who have different opinions on the subject. It’s critical that parents create structure and consistency with education, says Vanessa Vakharia, founder of The Math Guru in Toronto. In a recent Instagram Live event, Vanessa and I talked about the importance of presenting a unified message to children about education. With everything in life so uncertain, children benefit when they have a consistent routine to rely on.

Check out the replay of the IG Live here.

Parenting mistakes that undermine kids’ resilience

Now is an ideal time to talk to kids about racism, injustice

How do you respond when your child says they’re afraid of something? If your inclination is to tell them not to feel that way or that everything is going to be OK, you’re sending the message that feelings don’t matter and that it’s better to suppress them, says Dr. Tracy Hutchinson, a licensed mental health counsellor. A better strategy for dealing with a child’s expression of fear is acknowledging the emotion and asking the child what they think would make them feel better, says Hutchinson in a recent column for CNBC. That teaches them how to manage and cope with emotions on their own, she adds.

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Recent protests against police brutality are forcing many parents to have conversations about issues of race, privilege and injustice with their kids. And those who think their kids are too young to get it are wrong, UBC psychology professor Andrew Baron tells CBC.  One way to start talking about anti-Black racism is to “model empathy,” says Rhea Boyd, a U.S.-based pediatrician who studies the effects of policing on children’s health. “If a child expresses concern about what they’ve seen affecting another child or family, share how they can act in defence of that person. How they can stick up for them,” she says.

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When you’re stressed out with work deadlines, children’s schoolwork and trying to figure out what’s for dinner, it can feel impossible to carve out any time for self-care. But finding a quiet space to meditate — for even a few minutes — can reduce stress and anxiety, boost relaxation and help you to be less reactive.

Don’t get too caught up in the “am I doing it right” mentality. Experts say something as simple as five or 10 minutes of deep breathing or focused awareness can deliver positive mental health benefits.

Additionally, a 2016 study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that mindfulness meditation improves concentration and decision-making. It can also reduce the levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — which helps you feel more relaxed.

Serving clients during COVID-19

As we navigate the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic,
the safety and well-being of clients is my top priority. Social distancing is vital right now to prevent the spread of the virus so I will continue to work with clients through virtual meetings. If you have any questions or concerns about your family law matter or would like to schedule a meeting, please reach out to me by email.


Looking for more information on what to expect during a divorce, abusive relationships, love and money, life after divorce or other family law topics? 


Check out the In the News and Blog sections of my website where there’s a wealth of great content to get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

Leanne Townsend, Family Lawyer

Partner, Brauti Thorning LLP
Brookfield Place161 Bay Street,
Suite 2900,
Toronto, ON M5J 2S1

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Leanne Townsend Lawyer and Divorce Coach
Leanne Townsend is a multifaceted entrepreneur and attorney experienced in the areas of family law and domestic violence. She provides a full range of family law legal services in addition to running workshops and other programs to support people as they go through divorce.

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